Two horses—including Tommy II, winner of the Radnor Hunt CCI** (Pa.) last October—were humanely destroyed following accidents on the cross-country phase at the Poplar Place Farm CIC and Horse Trials in Hamilton, Ga., on March 25.
Both deaths followed freak accidents at jumps that have been on the course for several years and reportedly hadn’t previously caused problems. Event organizer Donna Stegman said that Capt. Mark Phillips, the U.S. cross-country course advisor, was watching both horses and said that they both appeared to be galloping and jumping in good form before the accidents occurred. David O’Connor, the U.S. Equestrian Federation president who is part of the required investigation committee, was at the event and saw the accidents occur.
The first horse, Ann Glaus’ Crestwood Michigan, competing in the CIC**, was jumping up a bank and broke his leg when he hit it on the reveting. The second horse, Sinead Halpin’s Tommy II was competing in the advanced horse trial. He hung a foreleg and flipped over a fence, breaking his neck.
According to Stegman, Halpin, a student of Karen and David O’Connor, was treated for an injured elbow but returned to the event to compete her other horses in show jumping on Sunday. Glaus, although physically uninjured, withdrew her other entries.
“That part of the weekend was very sad,” said Stegman. “I was thankful that David and Capt. Phillips were there. They both saw the accidents and said that both situations were flukes. As the organizer, I’m always glad to know that our jumps are considered safe. It’s not easy to know that horses pay the price sometimes, though.”